Elections

Mayor's race attracted many candidates, many contributors

Hilton Head Island mayoral candidates Tom Crews, left, and Drew Laughlin listen to a question from the audience while speaking at TEA Party Hilton Head Island's open forum at Aunt Chiladas Easy Street Cafe on Tuesday night.
Hilton Head Island mayoral candidates Tom Crews, left, and Drew Laughlin listen to a question from the audience while speaking at TEA Party Hilton Head Island's open forum at Aunt Chiladas Easy Street Cafe on Tuesday night. Jay Karr

Stiff competition and a large field of candidates made for contributions large and small -- and lots of them -- from retirees and business interests across Hilton Head Island leading up to last week's town elections.

Tom Crews raised the most of seven candidates vying to replace Mayor Tom Peeples, with $32,944 in contributions. He spent $20,771 on the campaign, according to the candidates' latest filing, Oct. 18.

Crews, an architect, will face Councilman Drew Laughlin in the Nov. 16 runoff. Laughlin raised the second most, $31,061, and spent $22,831, according to state records.

Much of Crews' contributions came from Realtors, developers and architects. Laughlin received contributions from attorneys, developers and Realtors.

During a debate Monday sponsored by the Hilton Head Island League of Women Voters, Crews and Laughlin were asked to explain the source of their campaign contributions, given "the national concern about millions of dollars" spent on campaigns in the midterm election across the country.

Both said they've been transparent about documenting money they've received, referring people to their online disclosure reports with the state ethics commission. They also dismissed concerns money raised during the campaign would influence the policies they would pursue or votes taken on different issues.

"I don't think any contribution from any company or individual will make a difference one way or the other," Crews said.

Laughlin said no one has asked him to commit to a certain policy to receive money and he has made no promises, "other than to pursue the agenda I have publicly laid out."

"The money has come forward because there are things the candidates represent that (contributors) believe in," Crews said. "It tells me our community is interested in our future by selecting good leadership and trying to help that."

MONEY RAISED

Campaign contribution information for candidates in the Nov. 2 town elections, according to reports filed October and November with the S.C. State Ethics Commission.

MAYOR

The mayor is paid a base salary and attendance fees that shall not exceed $13,900 per fiscal year, according to town ordinance.

  • Jim Collett -- $15,623 raised, $9,504 spent; No contributors giving the maximum $1,000.
  • Tom Crews -- $32,944 raised, $20,770 spent. Contributors giving the maximum $1,000: Rebecca Pardue, retired, Burlington, N.C.; James Richardson, real estate; Ralph Dupps, retired; Judy Trew, real estate; Dwight Trew, real estate; Vagabond Cruise; Nix Construction Co.; Redmand Investment; CareCore National; Steve Bailey, businessman.
  • Bill Ferguson -- No money raised or spent besides a $50 filing fee.
  • Drew Laughlin -- $31,061 raised, $22,831 spent. Contributors giving the maximum $1,000: Mullen Wylie LLC, law firm; Stan Snell, real estate; Audrey Snell, homemaker; Dean Pierce, attorney; John Giles, retail sales; Darien Boniface, property management; Michelle Boniface, homemaker; L K Properties Inc.; South Beach Racquet Club Inc.; Dwight Trew, real estate developer; Judy Trew, homemaker; George Mullen, attorney.
  • Ed McCullough -- No money raised or spent besides a $50 filing fee.
  • David Myers -- No money raised or spent. No filing fee listed.
  • John Safay -- $9,364 raised, $3,971 spent. Contributors giving the maximum $1,000: Martin Gleason, businessman.
  • TOWN COUNCIL

    Council members are paid a base salary and attendance fees that shall not exceed $10,800 per fiscal year, according to town ordinance.

  • Mary Amonitti -- $3,639 raised, $1,016 spent. No contributors giving the maximum $1,000.
  • Terry Conway -- $2,450 raised, $2,274 spent. No contributors giving the maximum $1,000.
  • William Harkins -- $5,975 raised, $5,122 spent. Contributors giving the maximum $1,000: Ryan Donald, businessman.
  • Kim Likins -- No campaign disclosure report filed.
  • Charles Raley -- $2,798 raised, $1,651 spent. Contributors giving the maximum $1,000: CareCore National LLC; Paul Barringer, rentals.
  • George Williams Jr. -- $5,329 raised, $2,101 spent. Contributors giving the maximum $1,000: Dolores Williams, attorney; James Williams, financial adviser.
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